Ruling party to file expulsion motion against 2 opposition lawmakers

SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Yonhap) -- The ruling Saenuri Party will file a motion Tuesday calling for the expulsion of two opposition lawmakers accused of making slanderous remarks against President Park Geun-hye, the party's floor leader said.

The remarks by Reps. Yang Seung-jo and Jang Ha-na of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) were made earlier this week amid a protracted standoff over allegations of state tampering in last year's presidential race.

On Sunday, Jang urged Park to resign over the allegations and called for a by-election at the same time the country holds nationwide local elections next year.

Angering the ruling party further, Yang warned Park on Monday that she could face the same fate as her assassinated father -- former President Park Chung-hee -- if she rules the country in a similar authoritarian manner.

Both the ruling party and Park's office have erupted in outrage at the lawmakers' remarks.

"The remarks by Supreme Council member Yang and Rep. Jang really crossed the line. They were a dagger and an arrow that ignored the minimum level of consideration and manners for a human being," Rep. Choi Kyoung-hwan, the floor leader of the ruling party, said at a party meeting. "We will submit a resolution for the expulsion of Reps. Yang Seung-jo and Jang Ha-na today."

The motion will be filed with the parliamentary ethics committee, Choi added.

The elder Park came to power in a 1961 military coup and ruled South Korea for 18 years until he was shot dead by his own spy chief in 1979. Opinions of him are mixed, with supporters praising him for his economic development drive, and detractors calling him a harsh dictator.

The chance of an expulsion motion being passed through the National Assembly is low, as it requires at least two-thirds approval. The ruling party currently holds a majority of 155 seats in the 300-seat parliament, followed by the DP with 127 seats. The rest are claimed by minor parties and independents.

Speaking to reporters at the National Assembly, Yang refused to apologize for his remarks, saying senior presidential press secretary Lee Jung-hyun should be the one to express regret over his "over-interpretation" of Yang's remarks.

"When I made the remarks, I didn't even imagine inciting harm. That's a horrible interpretation," he said. "In fact, I can't help but wonder if the person who made (that interpretation) is normal."

Yang stressed that the only person able to resolve the political crisis is President Park, saying that his remarks were intended to urge her to abandon her "arrogance, non-communication and self-righteousness" for closeness to the people.

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